transportation map

Map shows the area being studied for transportation planning.

OMAK – People can weigh in Thursday, April 25, on a transportation study being conducted in the Omak area with an eye toward planning through 2040.

An open house is planned for 6-8 p.m. at city hall, 2 N. Ash St.

During the open house, the project team from consulting firm Perteet will share corridor strategies and seek public comment on preferred alternatives. The same information is offered through an online open house, which can be accessed at https://us97omakareastudy.participate.online/.

Perteet, a consulting company hired by the state Department of Transportation to conduct the study, is looking at data for several intersections on highways 97 and 155, including growth, planned projects, existing intersection plans, collision data, level of service standards and existing traffic data.

Jenn Saugen and Christina Wollman of Perteet updated the city council March 4 on the plan’s progress.

One of the goals, said Wollman, is to improve non-motorized movement between East Side Park and the 12 Tribes Resort Casino and around East Omak Elementary School.

Saugen said they’ve also formed a “stakeholder” group of local residents to help learn about concerns. Organizations represented on the committee include the city, Okanogan County public works, Omak School District and board, Colville Confederated Tribes, Tollefson Construction, TranGO, Economic Alliance, Omak Chamber of Commerce and Okanogan County Farm Bureau.

Previous traffic plans also are being studied.

Computer models were run to look at congestion.

“Every intersection has different needs,” Saugen said.

Intersections being scrutinized are Highway 97 and Sand Flat Road, Highway 97 and Shumway Road, Highway 97 and Engh Road, Highway 215 (Riverside Drive) and Quince Street, Highway 97 and Dayton Street, and Highway 97 and the casino entrance.

The study is scheduled to be done in June. Preliminary conclusions include:

-At Sand Flat Road, congestion is expected whenever the Omak School District builds a middle school on property it owns in the area, Suagen said. Additional signs or perhaps a roundabout would be needed.

-A signal or roundabout might be recommended at Shumway Road in the future, along with a way to route traffic into the downtown area.

-For Engh Road, a two-lane roundabout or different signal might be needed.

-Quince Street will need to be addressed, since it is so close to the Engh Road-Highway 97 intersection.

Council members also noted Omache Drive is even closer to the highway intersection.

-At the casino, a pedestrian crossing, a signal or a roundabout might be needed.

-For bicyclists and walkers, trails and a pedestrian bridge over the Okanogan River might be called for.

-Planners also should look for ways to help trucks avoid going through downtown.

A draft report is expected by the end of May, with a final report coming by June 30.

Results of the plan could be used by the city or state to help secure funding, the women said.

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